Pole Number Selection Strategy of Lowspeed Multiplepole Permanent Magnet Synchronous Machines
Xiaolong Zhang, Student Member, IEEE, Ronghai Qu, Senior Member, IEEE
Abstract—Lowspeed multiplepole permanentmagnet (PM) synchronous machines have been widely used in directdrive (DD) applications. Influences of pole number variation on various aspects of machine performance, including power density, power factor, and magnetdemagnetization, are analyzed in the paper. A pole number selection strategy is proposed based on overall considerations of machine cost and performance. A series of FE models are built to illustrate the analysis and strategy. Index Terms—permanentmagnet machines, pole number, power density, power factor, magnet demagnetization
NOMENCLATURE
Ω 
Mechanical rotating speed 
μ _{0} 
Magnetic permeability in the air 
A 
Electric loading 
B _{g}_{1} Amplitude of fundamental airgap flux density produced by the magnet B _{a}_{1} Amplitude of fundamental flux density of armature
reaction field in the airgap
D _{g}
Airgap diameter
E _{1} Rms value of phase fundamental opencircuit back
EMF F _{1} Amplitude of fundamental MMF produced by stator windings
g 
Airgap length 
g’ 
Equivalent airgap length 
I _{1} Rms value of phase current I _{N} Rms value of phase rated current k _{w}_{1} Winding factor for the main harmonic k _{w}_{ν} Winding factor for the νth harmonic
l _{a} Axial effective length
m Phase number
N _{s} Number of series turns per phase
p
Numbers of pole pairs Electromagnetic power
Slot number Electromagnetic torque Rms value of phase rated voltage
P _{e}_{m}
Q
T _{e}_{m}
U _{N}
Xiaolong Zhang is with Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China. (email: zxll88@ 126.com). Ronghai Qu is with Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China. (phone: +8602787544355; fax: +862787540937; email: ronghaiqu@mail.hust.edu.cn).
I.
INTRODUCTION
L owspeed multiplepole Permanentmagnet (PM) synchronous machines have been widely used in
directdrive applications. Multiplepole directdrive PM machines are preferred in a growing number of driving systems due to their advantages of reducing the weight, volume, cost, noise, or reliability risks associated with intermediate components such as gears, belts, etc. Multiplepole directdrive PM machines have been achieving growing success in areas including white goods, automotive applications, ship propulsion, wind turbines, elevators, etc. [1,2] Pole number selection strategies have been discussed in both induction machines and PM machines [35]. In conventional machines, pole number should not exceed 8 due to the limitation of the convertor frequency. In PM machines for directdrive applications, rotating speeds are much lower and converter frequency may not be a critical limitation so higher pole numbers would be options. Active and inactive material cost is a major part of the overall cost. They are greatly dependent on machine volume and weight. When considering volume and weight in unit power, designs with high pole numbers are generally in favor due to thinner yoke thickness. However this advantage diminishes as pole number increases to some extent because the reduction of yoke thickness will be very limited. Besides, the yoke thickness cannot be too thin due to mechanical considerations. When pole number gets high, geometry sizes should not be the only concern; other issues such as power factor, magnetdemagnetization and their influences on the overall cost should also be considered in regard to selecting the pole number. The aim of this paper is to make a general analysis of influences of pole number variation on various aspects of machine performance and then provide a pole number selection strategy to help designers in multiplepole PM machine design. Several multiplepole PM machines for a 2MW directdrive wind turbine are designed. They have different pole numbers and their performances are calculated by finiteelement analysis (FEA). The results are summarized to illustrate pole number’s influence on power density, power factor and
magnetdemagnetization of the machine. In the last section，a pole number selection strategy will be provided.
9781467349741/13/$31.00 ©2013 IEEE
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_{I}_{I}_{.} _{M}_{A}_{C}_{H}_{I}_{N}_{E} MODELS WITH DIFFERENT POLE NUMBERS FOR COMPARISON
A. Summary of Design Data
As examples, a series of lowspeed multiplepole PM machines are designed for a 2 MW wind turbine. They are designed based on the same design specifications (Table I) but with different pole numbers. Their geometry, electrical performance, weight, cost are summarized in TABLE IIV. A crosssectional view of 5pole 6slot unit of the 60pole design is shown in Fig.1.
TABLE I
Design Specifications
Output Power 
MW 
2 

Mechanical Speed 
rpm 
18 

Rated Current 
Arms 
1800 

Efficiency 
% 
94 

TABLE II 

Material Data 

Material 
Type 
Price($/kg) 

Magnet 
NdFeB 45H 
82.5 

Copper 
11.4 

Iron 
50W470 
1.6 

Note: The prices are latest data from Chinese market. 

TABLE II 

Geometry Data 

20 
40 
60 
80 
100 
120 

Parameter 
Unit 
poles 
poles 
poles 
poles 
poles 
poles 
Slot Number 
24 
48 
72 
96 
120 
144 

Airgap Diameter 
mm 
3000 
3000 
3000 
3000 
3000 
3000 
Stack Length 
mm 
1140 
1050 
1025 
1030 
1065 
1110 
Stator Outer Diameter 
mm 
3600 
3360 
3302 
3274 
3260 
3254 
TABLE III FEA Electrical Performance Data 

20 
40 
60 
80 
100 
120 

Parameter 
Unit 
poles 
poles 
poles 
poles 
poles 
poles 
Line to Line Voltage 
Vrms 
1039 
816 
794 
792 
816 
854 
Phase Back EMF 
Vrms 
416 
404 
402 
402 
410 
419 
Line Current 
Arms 
1800 
1800 
1800 
1800 
1800 
1800 
Current Angle 
180 
180 
180 
180 
180 
180 

Power Factor 
0.61 
0.79 
0.80 
0.80 
0.79 
0.76 

Daxis Reactance 
Ω 
0.25 
0.15 
0.14 
0.14 
0.15 
0.16 
TABLE IV Active Material Weight Data 

20 
40 
60 
80 
100 
120 

Type 
Unit 
poles 
poles 
poles 
poles 
poles 
poles 
Magnet 
T 
1.77 
1.63 
1.59 
1.60 
1.65 
1.72 
Copper 
T 
4.9 
3.3 
2.9 
2.8 
2.9 
3.1 
Iron 
T 
34 
15 
11 
8.7 
7.8 
7.2 
Total 
T 
40 
20 
15.2 
13.1 
12.3 
12.0 
TABLE V Active Material Cost Data 

20 
40 
60 
80 
100 
120 

Type 
Unit 
poles 
poles 
poles 
poles 
poles 
poles 
Magnet 
k$ 
146 
134 
131 
132 
136 
142 
Copper 
k$ 
56 
38 
33 
32 
33 
35 
Iron 
k$ 
54 
24 
17 
14 
12 
12 
Total 
k$ 
255 
196 
182 
178 
182 
189 
Fig.1 Geometry of 60Pole Design
B. Design Constraints and Common Parameters
In the six design examples, the same topology is used. Permanent magnets are mounted on the surface of the rotor laminations. In the stator, fractionalslot concentratedwindings
are applied. The pole/slot ratio is 5/6. Pole numbers are 20, 40,
60, 80, 100 and 120, respectively. Slot numbers are 24, 48, 72, 96, 120 and 144, correspondingly.
To do a fair comparison, some basic dimensions and electromagnetic loading are kept constant, i.e. their airgap diameter, airgap length, magnet thickness, series turns per phase are the same. According to derivations in [6], a sizing equation for sinusoidallyfed PM machine is
(1)
The electric loading A for a doublelayer winding configuration
is defined by
(2)
T
em
=
4
A =
k
w
1
B
g
1
AD l
g
a
2 mN I
s
1
π D
g
2
The parameter selection has ensured that main winding factor k _{w}_{1} , airgap diameter D _{g} and A will be the same, and fundamental airgap flux density B _{g}_{1} will be similar in each designs. Axial
length l _{a} is left as an adjustable freedom to meet the output power requirement. It can also be derived from (3) that the open circuit back EMF will be very similar.
E
1
=
2
(3)
Analysis in the following parts of the paper will be based on these design constraints and common parameters.
k
w
NB
11
s
g
Dl Ω
ga
_{I}_{I}_{I}_{.} POWER DENSITY
Power densities over volume, weight and cost of the active material part of the machine will be discussed in this section. The volume and weight of the active part not only influence the active material cost directly, but also greatly affect inactive material cost, assembling difficulties and transporting expenses. By exploring relationships between the pole number and power densities over volume, weight and cost, this section is aimed at
evaluating the overall manufacturing cost of the machine. Machine volume depends on diameter and axial length. As
pole number increases, flux per each pole reduces. Yoke
thicknesses in stator and rotor reduce if yoke flux density is kept in the same level, so as stator outer diameter. The axial length depends on many factors including effective flux by magnet, iron saturation, etc. Active material mainly comprises of iron, copper and magnet.
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Iron weight is generally the biggest portion of total active material weight, as can be seen from TABLE IV. Machine weight tends to decrease as pole number increases due to the yoke thickness reduction. This trend slows down when pole number gets relatively high. As demonstrated in TABLE V, costs of magnet and copper make up the majority of the active material cost. The usage amount of magnet and copper are mainly dependent on machine axial length. Based on the basic analysis made above, it is very necessary to find the relationship between the pole number and the machine axial length since the axial length is in direct proportion to machine’s volume, weight and cos. In the subsections, some prominent factors on machine’s output capability per unit length, including magnet leakage flux, equivalent airgap length and iron saturation, are analyzed.
A. Magnet Leakage Flux
Magnet leakage flux is the flux that does not link armature coils or only partially link the coils. The leakage flux reduces the back EMF and the torque production capability. The analytical models of the leakage flux in surfacemounted PM machines and interior PM machines are derived in [7] and [8], respectively. It is found that the leakage flux component is greatly influenced by circumferential distance between poles and airgap radial length. Longer pole distance and smaller airgap result in larger magnet leakage flux. In the design examples, formulas derived in [7] are adopted. A magnet flux leakage factor k _{L} is defined as the ratio of the magnet flux interacting with stator current to the total magnet flux and can be calculated by
1 (4)
where k _{L}_{g} is the magnet airgap leakage flux factor and k _{L}_{t} is the magnet zigzag leakage flux factor caused by the flux shortcircuited by one tooth. They have been well defined and calculated in [7]. The magnet flux leakage factor is shown in Fig.2. As pole number increases, leakage flux paths are shortened and leakage flux component increases.
kk=
L
Lg
+−k
Lt
Fig.2. Magnet Leak Factors in Analytical Results
B. Equivalent Airgap Length
The equivalent airgap length is larger than the physical airgap length for slotted surface. This enlargement factor is defined as Carter factor [4], which can be calculated by the formula
k
c
=
τ
s
τ
s
−
⎧
⎪
⎡
2 b
π
oo
⎨
⎪
⎩
arctan
−+⎢
2
gb
o
ln
⎣ ⎢
1
bg
⎛
⎜
⎝
b
o
2
g
⎤⎫ ⎪
⎥
⎠⎥ ⎦⎭ ⎪
⎞
⎟
2
⎬
(5)
where τ _{s} is the slot pitch, b _{o} is the slot opening. This effect is significant in machines with open slots. Since more poles means more slots, narrower slot opening and consequently lower carter factor. The Carter factor calculated for the design examples is shown in Fig.3. It is proved that the equivalent airgap length decreases as pole number increases.
Fig.3 Carter Factors in Analytical Results
C. Iron Saturation
Armature reaction will increase flux densities in iron portion of the machine, especially in iron teeth. Changing of the pole number will affect the iron magnetic saturation level and machine performance. The tooth flux density is proportional to the airgap flux density. The expression of amplitude of stator winding fundamental MMF is given by (6). The airgap armature
reaction field can be found by multiplying winding MMF with airgap permeance, which obtains (7). It is shown that armature reaction field is proportional to p ^{}^{1} . Therefore a small pole number will be along with relatively high saturation level.
B
F
a 1
(6)
(7)
Fig.4 Flux Density Distributions in Iron Teeth for Saturation Comparison
Fig.4 shows tooth field distribution at the moment with maximum flux density for the six design examples. The flux densities are measured by the same scaling. It is observed that the tooth is most saturated in the 20pole design, designs with higher pole numbers, i.e. 80, 100, 120, are less saturated than
1269
other designs. When pole number is high, the saturation level may not decrease further because decrease rate of p ^{}^{1} slows down and slot leakage flux increases. That’s the reason 80, 100 and 120pole designs have similar flux density values in iron teeth.
D. FEA Results on Power Density
Back EMF and output power per unit axial stack length from FEA results of the six design examples are shown in Fig.5. When the pole number is very small, the power capability is low due to large equivalent airgap length and high iron saturation caused by armature reaction. When pole number is very high, the power capability is low as well due to significant magnet leakage flux. The power density curve over weight from FEA results is shown in Fig.6. One can find that the higher the pole number, the lighter the structure is. As has been pointed out, this is due to thinner yoke for high pole numbers. To illustrate this trend, the stator yoke thicknesses for different pole numbers are also provided in Fig.6. However, when pole number increases to some extent, the weight will not reduce significantly or even increase a little because the yoke thickness reduction becomes small and the axial length has to be extended to ensure power output. Besides, the yoke thickness could not be too thin to ensure mechanical robustness. Therefore the pole number is not the more the better for weight minimization. The power density curves over volume and cost from FEA results are plotted in Fig.7. These curves are similar in shape to the curves of power capability per unit length because volume and cost are proportional to the axial length. The 60pole and 80pole designs have relatively short stack length, indicating potentials for low volume and cost. High pole number designs have some geometrical merits due to their thin yokes and short end windings. Therefore the maximum power density over volume and cost appear at 80pole design and the declining rate in the highpolenumber region is relatively slow. Another message from these design examples is that the magnet cost makes up the majority of the active material cost due to high magnet prices nowadays, as shown in TABLE II and V. The curves from FEA results demonstrate pretty good agreements with theoretical analysis. It is proved that each curve has an optimum point corresponding to maximum power density over volume, weight or cost. Luckily these optimum points are very close to each other and it is not a difficult job to locate an optimum pole number region in which volume, weight and cost can be optimized as a whole. In the serial design examples, the optimum region should be between 80 and 100.
Fig.5 Back EMF and Output Power per Unit Axial Stack Length
Fig.6 Power Density Curve over Weight and Yoke Thicknesses of Different Pole Numbers
Fig.7 Power Density Curves over Volume and Cost
_{I}_{V}_{.} POWER FACTOR
Power factor is the ratio of the active electrical power to the product of rated voltage and rated current. The power factor of the PM machine determines minimal VA rating of the convertor. Low power factor will cause convertor cost increase. Neglecting losses and highorder harmonics in currents and voltages, a machine’s power factor is defined as
(8)
The power factor of an electrical machine is dependent on back EMF, reactance, current magnitude and current angle, etc. Adding negative daxis current could improve the power factor whereas output power might reduce. A simple and common control strategy is adopted for comparing the power factor, i.e. full current is applied to qaxis and no magnetizing component exists. Neglecting the winding resistance, the power factor would be
P em
mU
N
I
N
PF =
PF =
=
(9)
Therefore in the view of machine design, power factor is mainly dependent on the back EMF and the reactance. Generally, high EMF and low reactance help improve power factor since in normal condition qaxis current is significantly larger than daxis current. The variation of EMF with pole number has been discussed in section III. The inductance and reactance trends will be analyzed in this section.
A. Inductance and Reactance Trends
[9] gives the expressions of different inductance components.
The
airgap
inductance,
slot
leakage
inductance,
toothtip
1270
leakage inductance and endwinding leakage inductance are respectively determined by
L
g =
mD l
μ
0
ga
(
N
s
π
g
'
p
)
ν =+∞
2 ∑
ν =+∞
⎛
⎝ ⎜
w ν
k
ν
⎞
⎠ ⎟
2
(10)
L
L
tl
sl
=
=
4
N
2
ml
4
μ
0
ml
μ
0
a
N
s
Q
2
Q
P
P
tl
s
asl
(11)
(12)
L el
=
4
mq
μ
0
N
s
2
Q
(2
l
ew
P
lew
+
W
ew
P
wew
)
(13)
where P _{s}_{l} is the slot specific permeance factor, P _{t}_{l} is the tooth tip specific permeance factor, l _{e}_{w} is the axial length of the end winding measured from the end of the stack and P _{l}_{e}_{w} is the corresponding specific permeance factor, W _{e}_{w} is the width of the coil span and P _{w}_{e}_{w} is the corresponding end winding specific permeance factor, q is the number of slots per pole and phase. It is obvious that the airgap inductance is proportional to p ^{}^{2} ,
(14)
The slot specific permeance is roughly inverselyproportional to the slot width and the slot width is inverselyproportional to the slot number. Therefore
(15)
According to (11), the slot leakage inductance will generally not change very much as pole number varies, i.e.
(16)
Assuming that the slot opening is proportional to slot width, then toothtip specific permeance has the same feature as the slot specific permeance. The toothtip inductance is almost constant as well, i.e.
(17)
The end winding lengths, l _{e}_{w} and W _{e}_{w} , are roughly proportional to the pole pitch. The end winding permeance factors, P _{l}_{e}_{w} and P _{w}_{e}_{w} , are empirical values depending on the structure of the winding. Therefore
(18)
It has been assumed that the slot number Q is proportional to the pole pair number p, therefore the end turn leakage inductance is proportional to p ^{}^{2} , i.e.
(19)
(14)(16)(17)(19) depict the influence of pole number selection on inductances. It is seen that the variation trends of inductance components with the pole number are different. The airgap inductance and end turn inductance are related to pole number with a factor of p ^{}^{2} , whereas the slot inductance and toothtip inductance are not greatly influenced by pole number variation. To explain this difference, one can assume that pole number is doubled and coil turns number is halved as shown in Fig.8 and see how inductances change. The flux in the airgap is in radial direction. When pole number increases, the total airgap permeance does not change. Since coil turns number is halved, the airgap inductance is one quarter of the original value. On the contrary, the flux lines in the slot are perpendicular to airgap depth. When pole number increases from two to four, slot width is halved, the length of the flux path is halved and slot permeance per pole is doubled. Therefore the
L
g
∝
p
−
2
P
sl
∝ Q
L
sl
∝ const
L
tl
∝ const
2
lP
ew
lew
+
WP
ew
wew
∝
p
−
1
L
el
∝
p
−
2
total slot permeance is four times original value and slot inductance does not change since coil turns are halved.
Fig.8 Flux Paths and Permeances in the Airgap and Slot in TwoPole and FourPole Topology
The synchronous reactance X _{s} consists of the reactances corresponding to the various inductance components discussed above, i.e.
XXXXX=+++ (20) The reactance is the multiplication of the inductance and the electrical angular frequency pΩ. The electrical frequency increases proportionally with the pole number. It has been
proved that these inductance components are related to the pole
number with orders of 2 or 0 respectively. Therefore the reactance components are related to the pole number with orders of 1 or 1, i.e.
k
(21)
s
g
sl
tl
el
X
1
s
=
+ kp
2
p
where the coefficients k _{1} and k _{2} can be seen as approximate constants unvaried by p, assuming equal slot depth and same
pole/slot ratio. The coefficients can be determined by
k
1
k
2
=
+
μ
0
mD l N
ga
s
Ω
ν
∑
2
=+∞
⎛
⎜ ⎝
k
ν
w
⎞
⎟ ⎠
2
4
mq
π
μ
0
g
'
N
s
2 Ω
ν
2
p
=+∞
ν
(2
lP
ew
lew
+
WP
ew
wew
)
Q
=
4
m
μ 0
lN
a
s
2
P
sl
+
Q
P
tl
(22)
(23)
According to (21), the function of synchronous reactance to
pole number is a concave curve. Obviously, it is desirable to put the pole number into the valley region of the reactance curve so that the power factor could be relatively high.
B. FEA Results on Power Factor
The synchronous reactances of the design examples from analytical and FEA results are compared in Fig.9. They agree with each other very well and it is shown that the reactance is small when pole number is between 60 and 80. The power factor from FEA results is plotted in Fig.10. As expected, high power factors appear in the same region. Obviously, X _{s} will be relatively low in a certain range of pole numbers. Both very high and very low values of p will lead to large X _{s} , poor power factor and unwanted high convertor cost and losses. From another perspective, if converter capacity is to be kept unchanged, then a rise of negative daxis current is needed and machine volume has to be increased to ensure equal output power. Therefore, to minimize overall weight and cost, it would be preferred that pole number selection falls into this optimum range.
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Fig.9 Synchronous Reactance from Analytical and FEA results
Fig.10 Power Factor from FEA Results
V.
MAGNETDEMAGNETIZATION
During short circuit (SC) faults, armature windings of PM machines will endure high currents [10]. The reverse field produced by the increased current may damage flux induction capability of some part of the magnets. This is called demagnetization [11,12]. If the magnet demagnetization volume is considerable, magnet flux will reduce significantly and torque production capability will be affected. It is necessary to check whether the magnet can survive from various short circuit faults and evaluate possible magnet demagnetization volume in the design stage. It has been explained in [13] that large leakage inductance components help improve demagnetization conditions.
A. Demagnetization Risks Evaluation
There are many types of short circuit faults. According to fault phase numbers, there are 3phase SC faults, 2phase SC faults, 1phase SC faults, etc. According to whereabouts the fault happens, there are phasephase SC faults, phaseground SC faults, interturn SC faults, etc. According to the operating conditions before the faults, there are SC faults from no load, SC faults from rated load, etc. After an SC fault happens, there will be a transient process during which the fault currents change from an unsteady state into a steady state. The magnitude of peak current and steadystate current are dependent on the fault type and the fault instance. Therefore the magnet condition will also depend on these factors. 3phase symmetrical short circuit fault is a basic fault type. Generally, the magnitudes of other types of short circuit current are proportional to the steadystate current of 3phase short circuit. The demagnetization field produced by steadystate 3phase short circuit currents will be adopted as an index of possible demagnetization risks in PM machines.
The phase current in steadystate 3phase short circuit fault condition is in the demagnetization direction and the magnitude is
I
SC
=
(24)
Assuming sinusoidal field distribution, the demagnetization field can be found by replacing I _{1} in (7) with I _{3}_{p}_{h}_{S}_{C} , i.e.
B
a
1
=
=
2 mk
w
1
N I
s
SC
μ
0
μ
0
m
π
p
(
k
w
1
N
s
)
2
g '
Dl
ga
p
Ω
π
p
2
g
' X
d
B
g 1
(25)
= B
g 1
L
m
L
d
where L _{m} is the magnetizing inductance or the main harmonic component of the airgap inductance. To include harmonic fields, L _{m} is replaced with the total airgap reactance L _{g} . By split the synchronous reactance L _{d} into the airgap component and other leakage components, RMS intensity of the demagnetization field is given by
(26)
L
It is evident that the demagnetization field is dependent on the proportion of the airgap component in the total inductance. It has been shown in section IV that as pole number increases, the airgap inductance and end leakage inductance will drop; the slot leakage reactance and toothtip leakage reactance will change little. The end leakage inductance is relatively small due to large reluctance in its magnetic circuits. Therefore, the demagnetization field will decrease as pole number increases. Or in other words, high pole numbers help reduce demagnetization risks and possible magnet demagnetization volumes.
L
g
B
a rms
,
=
B
1
g
g
LLL
+++
sl
tl
el
B. FEA Results on Magnet Demagnetization
Threephase symmetrical shortcircuit faults are simulated in all six FE models. The time instants when demagnetization fields are most strong are found and the distribution maps of the field along magnetizationdirection in the magnets are plotted, in Fig.14. Red areas are heavilydemagnetized areas. It is clear that as pole number increases, red areas are smaller and smaller, blue areas are bigger and bigger, which means that demagnetization risks become lower. For NdFeB 45H magnet at the operating temperature of 90℃, demagnetization knee point is 0.2T. All magnet regions where flux densities are above 0.2T in Fig.14 are considered demagnetized. Demagnetized area rates are listed in TABLE VI. In 20pole design, about ninety percent of the magnet area is demagnetized. As pole number increases, demagnetized areas decrease. In 80pole design, the demagnetized area is only ten percent. When pole number exceeds 100, no any portion of the magnet is demagnetized. Simulation results verify the theoretical conclusion that high pole number mitigates magnetdemagnetization. The most simple way to protect the magnets from
1272
demagnetization is to increase the magnet material grade, e.g. from H grade to SH grade, or to UH grade. However it may not be a preferred way because the highergrade magnets have significantly higher prices and the magnet material cost makes up a big portion of the total active material cost, as shown in TABLE V. Increasing the pole number would be an effective and lowcost method. However there is an upper limit to the pole number increase. Because a high pole number may lead to considerable magnet leakage flux, large reactances and consequently low power density and poor power factor.
Fig.11 Distribution Maps of the Field along MagnetizationDirection in the Magnets When Demagnetization Field is Most Strong
TABLE VI
Demagnetization Area
Pole Number 
20 
40 
60 
80 
100 
120 
Demagnetization Area (%) 
89 
82 
65 
10 
0 
0 
VI. POLE NUMBER SELECTION STRATEGY
In designing lowspeed multiplepole PM machines, it is necessary to select an appropriate pole number when basic sizes and material types have been chosen. Based on the performance data, an appropriate pole number can be selected for the 2MW wind generator. The volume and cost of the active material are relatively low in the pole number range between 60 and 100. When considering weight, high pole numbers are favorable. But when pole number is larger than 100, the weight will not reduce significantly as pole number increases further. A relatively high power factor of approximate 0.8 appears for pole numbers between 40 and 100. The magnetdemagnetization during the 3phase short circuit fault is severe for pole numbers lower than 60. When pole number is greater than 100, the demagnetization volume is zero. It can be concluded that for this application a pole number of 100 would be an optimal choice of high power density, high power factor and low magnetdemagnetization risks. A general strategy for optimal pole number selection can be adopted by following steps below:
1. A series of threshold values for power densities over volume, weight and cost, power factor and magnetdemagnetization should be set up. 2. Calculate curves of relationships between some typical parameters and the pole number based on analytical expressions provided in the above sections. The parameters include magnet flux leakage, equivalent airgap length, armature
reaction field, synchronous reactance and demagnetization field, etc.
3. Select a series of candidate pole numbers with reasonable
values of these calculated parameters.
4. Build the model of the selected pole numbers in FEA and
simulate their performance.
5. Compare performances of these FEA models with the
threshold values set up in the first step. The pole number that
could best fulfill performance requirements and minimize overall cost is chosen as a baseline design.
6. Carefully evaluate performances of the baseline design
and make some adjustments if some performances are not satisfactory. If magnet flux leakage needs to be reduced, pole number should be lowered. In machines with open slots, back EMF may be low due to large equivalent airgap. In this case, pole number and slot number could be increased to reduce airgap permeance. If iron teeth are highly saturated due to heavy armature
reaction, pole number should be increased. If power factor is too low due to large reactance, pole number may need adjustment. Either increase the pole number to reduce airgap reactance, or lower the pole number to reduce slot and toothtip leakage reactance. If magnetdemagnetization is severe, then pole number should be increased.
7. If all performance thresholds could not be satisfied, some
premises like basic sizes, electromagnetic loading or materials
should be altered or performance requirements should be lowered. Then steps listed above must be repeated again until a satisfactory result is obtained.
8. An optimal pole number can be selected by following
above steps and other geometry details could be optimized subsequently. The strategy proposed here only considers some prominent effects on some main machine performances, i.e. power density, power factor and magnetdemagnetization. There are other factors that could cause considerable effects and other performances that may need to be evaluated. One of these important issues is loss. Since frequency is proportional to the
pole number, increasing pole number would mean considerable increase in iron losses and copper AC loss. Another performance index for machines is the speed range. Operating the machine to wide speed range requires high daxis inductance. Sometimes selecting a pole number with high synchronous inductance helps improve highspeed fieldweakening performance. However, this may be contradictory with expected high power factor in low speed range, which requires low qaxis inductance. These considerations could be added to the pole number selection steps if necessary.
VII.
CONCLUSIONS
In lowspeed multiplepole PM machines, there is no strict limitations in pole number selection. Therefore pole number could be varied as an optimization freedom to improve overall performance. To do a fair performance comparison for machines with different pole numbers, some design constraints
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and common parameters are defined. Then effects of pole number selection on various performances including power density, power factor and magnetdemagnetization are analyzed. First, three main factors influencing power capability of the machine, i.e. magnet leakage flux, equivalent airgap length and iron saturation, are considered. It is found that both very high and very low pole numbers are undesirable because the power/length ratios will be low and machine axial lengths are relatively long. In the intermediate region for the pole number, machines have high power densities over volume and cost. Machines with slightly higher pole numbers have some advantage in power density over weight. Second, the relationship between various reactance components and pole number are explored. It is found that as pole number increases, airgap reactance and endwinding leakage reactance decreases, whereas slot and toothtip leakage reactance increases. The synchronous reactance, as the sum of these reactance components, is low for pole numbers in a certain region and the low synchronous reactance brings high power factor and low convertor cost. Third, magnetdemagnetization risks under short circuit faults are evaluated. Derivation shows that the demagnetization field is dependent on the proportion of the airgap component in the total inductance. High pole numbers could mitigate magnetdemagnetization due to their high leakage inductance components. In the last section, a pole number selection strategy aimed at overall performance optimization is proposed. By applying it to a 2MW wind generator design, this strategy has been proved valid and effective.
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